Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Sacrifice

Banks are not my 'cup of tea', but this one was an exception; firstly, because of its attractive facade, pleasant staff & atmosphere, and location near a garden; secondly, because of an aquaintance of mine who used to work there. Whenever this aquaintance saw me in the bank she greeted me warmly and it was a pleasure to exchange a few words with her.

One day she saw me, and ...ignored me. I told my brother about that as she was the wife of one of his friends. He said that she was avoiding everyone because of their eldest son - a fresh soldier, who had collapsed during an army drill, was hospitalized, and after a while released both from the hospital and the army and put on medication. I asked my brother for details as to the nature of the collapse, but he couldn't provide any as both parents had refused to talk about it even with friends.

The worst was yet to come. During the period of intense worry for her son, this aquaintance of mine, Aliza, a pretty woman about 45 years of age, a top employee at the bank, was diagnosed with liver cancer. I visited her at the hospital two weeks before her death.There was something about her that immediately caught my attention: her beautiful hair was intact, face not much altered, and when she smiled with her pearly little teeth , one could hardly guess she was dying.

It was at the funeral, that the secret was disclosed to me. After the burrial and before leaving the cemetery, her mourning husband whispered in my ear that she had strongly refused to receive chemotherapic treatment. The logic behind her decision was that: Liver cancer is fatal. Chemotherapy might prolong her life with several more months but the price would be too high, it could kill her son. Still not completely recovered from his collapse, seeing his mother, in a highly helpless situation between hair loss and vomiting sessions - it would have been the end of him.

I believe the son is not without health problems today, but he 's got a job , a wife, and two kids. Sometimes, I wonder whether he knows about his mother's sacrifice.

I've closed my account at the bank, one of the reasons being that it fills me with deep sadness to enter this place and not see Aliza's familiar face there. Whenever near the building, I still enjoy, however, having a look at its appealing facade and its compact, modern architecture.


  1. There is nothing in the world like the sacrifices of a mother for her child. How sad for poor Aliza whose name is so much like mine. I too probably wouldn't have been able to go back into that bank. I'm glad you got to talk to her before she died Duta.

  2. What an amazing story of a mother's sacrifice. I pray that her son realizes what a wonderful woman he had for a mother.

    God bless and have a wonderful Wednesday!!!

  3. Given her son's condition and the fact that everyone I've ever known diagnosed with liver or pancreatic cancer pass so quickly, I truly understand her decision. That type of death is torture enough without adding to it. I do understand why you had to close your account. Beautifully told in her memory, Duta.

  4. You share the most heartwarming stories Duta and today has not disappointed.

    How warmly you must interact with those around you in real life to have had the husband share such a thing with you.

    I am always so thankful to read your blog. It always reminds me of what is important.


  5. A mother's love for her child....nothing more beautiful than that. What a brave and giving woman. I'm sorry for your loss and for your sadness. It's good that you have fond memories of her. She sounds like she was a wonderful lady.

  6. I suppose it's the logical part of me, but wouldn't seeing her dead be worse for her son? I'd want to give my son a few months to get used to the idea by seeing me deteriorate and lose my hair and such, just so he has time to adjust. When my father died when I was 16, he had a heart attack but lived a few days in the hospital. During that time, I was able to adjust to the idea of losing him when he did pass. I'm glad her son is raising some grandbabies for her. That's what she would really want to leave behind.

  7. What a sad story, yet uplifting, too. That mother's sacrifice was truly a gift of love for her son. Your posts are always so interesting, Duta. Thank you.

  8. Interesting blog! Nice to be here!

  9. I have always believed that if there could ever be a true unconditional love in this world then that would be surely the mother’s love. I don’t know much about god because I have never seen any nor have I experienced any but I have seen a mother and I believe that if there could ever be a god on earth then it is in the form of mother’s love. Nothing is above it.
    It is always good to hear about mother and child love. In fact mothers do so much for the sake of children and I wonder how many children realise it when they are still young.
    It seems she had a wonderful personality to make you all smile and get connected to her. Even her sacrifice shows how much she cared for her loved ones. Such people in this society are like bright shining stars from whom we need to learn so many good things.
    Thanks a lot for sharing such a wonderful and heart touching story.
    I understand very well about your decision of closing the account and it shows how much you liked her and how much her sacrifice touched your heart. I wish the son realises the importance of the mother in his life.

  10. Parca mai umana si mai apropiata de tine.Interesanta abordare arhitectonica dar si gindul sau intentia de a scrie despre asa ceva.Cu respect.

  11. You are a very good story telling writer! Hugs.

  12. What courage and love this mother gave to her son,it is a shame she felt she could not share her burden with you,as I am sure you would have helped her cope,even if it only meant having someone to talk to.
    I know you are a very caring person,who was fond of your friend,how many other people would have changed their bank,given these circumstances.

  13. Alicia,

    'Aliza' means 'happy' in Hebrew. She was indeed a happy, joyful person. I'm glad too I had the chance to see her and talk to her before she died.


    I met her son only once after her death. He was not married then and we discussed his job as a bridge instructor. He didn't mention his mother during our conversation; I suppose it was too painful for him.

    Ronda Laveen,

    I have to agree with you.
    She was the dominant figure in her family, so if she decided something it had to be carried out without opposition. I think only her husband and his siblings knew about her decision. Her side of the family- old, ill parents, and a sister living afar, knew nothing about it.


    Jeanette, you've made my day with your kind words. I'm glad you think of me as a warm person and that my blog "reminds you of what is important".


    She was indeed a special lady, smart and full of life. In the end, she proved to be also brave and sacrificing.


    One could certainly see it your way. But I cannot judge. At that time, I knew only vague things. They closed themselves to the world. Even today I have no knowledge of the nature of the son's collapse, I can only guess and that's not good enough.

  14. Janie B,

    Well put: sad, and yet uplifting story because of the mother's sacrifice ("a gift of love for her son").

    Megha Chatbar,

    Welcome to my little blog! I'm glad you like it, and hope you'll visit again.


    Thank you for your detailed and interesting comment. I agree, there's nothing above a mother's love for her children and people like Aliza are indeed "bright shining stars".


    Multumesc pentru comentariu. Imi plac cuvintele de 'umana', 'apropiata', 'interesanta' referitoare la subiectul si intentia mea.

    (P.S- Va multumesc si pentru 'follower').

    Phivos Nicolaides,

    Thanks a lot for your compliment. The truth is I'm not really a writer, I wish I were one. Hugs.


    It is a shame indeed that she couldn't share her burden with anyone except her husband and perhaps his two sisters. I felt sorry that she avoided me. However, I have respected her privacy, not to say secrecy, and I feel respect for her now too.

  15. Dear Dutta:

    Some stories warm us while some stories make us wonder about the whole process of life. When I read the line where she refused the treatment, I was like "Why" "Why."
    I am glad she stood by what she believed in even if it meant death.
    Whatever I write will not be able to explain the emotions that I am undergoing this instance. All I can say is that the son is blessed.

    DUTA, this is one remarkable narrative which will keep returning to me.

    Joy always,

  16. Oh my, this story touched my heart!
    It was sad but also so uplifting!
    That mother loved her son so much she was willing to sacrifice her life for him!
    No greater love hath a mother!

    Thanks so much for sharing, Duta.

    Margie :)

  17. duta,
    you came up again with another touching story...
    reading this i remembered my niece, suryagayathri, who died of SLE, one and half years back...
    she was the most energetic and enthusiastic child, may be person, of her house...
    she always laughed, loved everybody, only to depart at 20years of age...
    i remember her face which had a frightened look, when she went to hospital and was made to wait in front of the consulting room of the oncologist...
    she was diagnosed negative by the oncologist, and asked to be admitted at the hospital...
    she told me, when her hair was removed due to lice problem, that she would be returning to her home after spending some months at my house, so that her hair would be grown fully before she faces her neighbors...
    her mother is still full of tears...
    she relates every piece of talk, or anything with the child and always tells that my daughter would have reacted like talked like that etc...
    i read an article in some magazine that a mother can tolerate anything but the loss of her child...

  18. Nothing compares to a mother's love...

  19. Susan Deborah,

    "I'm glad she stood by what she believed in even if it meant death" - that's a very powerful statement. And indeed the narrative of a mother's sacrifice stirs up big emotions.


    It is hard to believe, but here it is: The mother was ready to die so that her son could live.


    Sorry to hear about your niece - 20 years of age, OMG1 The worst thing that could happen to parents is to loose their child.

    Pink Panthress,

    Very true. And this mother has fully proven her love. She offered the ultimate sacrifice - her life.

  20. It is true that we love our children more than life itself, and Aliza proved that.

    Poor soul, I hope she didn't suffer much. It's a beautiful building, by the way. It somehow always feels that little bit more poignant to have beauty associated with suffering, isn't it?

    Wonderful story, Duta. Do you know, I was just telling my son about you the other day, and how consistently floored I am that you write so movingly in what is not your first language. It amazes me. How many languages do you speak?

  21. As a mother of two sons I certainly understand her actions. She was a very brave woman and should be remembered the way you do. I believe anyone you count as a friend is a very lucky person. I do so enjoy your stories and look forward to the next installment. May Peace be with you.

  22. Thanks a lot for such kind and warm words at my place.
    Every time you come and leave your valuable words, it gives me a lot of strength to continue blogging. Really I feel that we need to learn many important things of life from your wonderful blog.
    I’ll be grateful to you for posting and sharing such valuable things in your blog.
    Thanks a lot !

  23. I found that a devastatingly sad story, the mother's sacrifice somehow making it even more sad. I can well understand why you cancelled your account. Every blessing to you and your friends.

  24. Land of Shimp,

    "beauty associated with suffering" - indeed it makes it all more poignant.
    As usual, your comment makes my day; I get much encouragement and pleasure from your kind words. Thank you.

    As for languages: My first language(native) is romanian, my second language(acquired) is Hebrew, my third one is English. I have also some fair knowledge of French and German, but unfortunately I don't use them so I kind of ..lose them.

    C Hummel Kornell a/k/a C Hummel Wilson,

    I've tried to leave a comment on your last post and it was rejected. Do you know whether someone else had also that problem ?

    As for Aliza, she was also mother to two sons. And yes, she was brave.( Both her sons are married - the younger one got married last year ).
    Thanks a lot ,for your warm words.


    Comments from readers are very valuable and encouraging. That's how I feel, and I'm glad you feel the same about it. There's a lot we can learn and share through blogging and commenting.

  25. Such a sad story about your friend from the bank. I would choose her way too ... natures way and die with beauty and grace. This story reminds me to smile, and say thanks. Again DUTA you have the gift of story telling. :)

  26. Omigoodness, what a sad but beautiful story. I think she did the right thing, not only for her son, but for herself

    That is a beautiful little bank, by the way. But I can understand why you don't want to go there anymore.

  27. Dave King,

    "devastatingly sad" is an accurate descriptive term for this story. Thank you for the blessings.

    Sharon McPherson:Author,

    "...die with beauty and grace" - hopefully, it will happen only at the age of 120.
    Thanks for the compliment in the last sentence of your comment. It means a lot to me.


    It's hard to judge, especially that I had no clear details about the son's condition, or even hers.
    As for the bank, it's a gem, but I see it now only from the outside.

  28. How very bittersweet. It is sad that you closed your account. Some times it's better to have your good memories and be happy than have the sad ones linger.
    The bank is beautiful. I have never seen one like this before. I can see why you were attracted =)

  29. What a brave woman, to choose not to have chemo but to accept what was to come with grace and dignity. I would hope to do the same if ever I am in the same situation. If my life was to come to and end with cancer, then I, too, would accept that that was the way it was to be. Chemo would not be good for me, it would rob be of my dignity. So God bless that lady, and God bless you for once again posting words which give me food for thought.

  30. Wendy Blum,

    Welcome to my little blog!

    'Bittersweet" indeed. One could say that the sweet part is that the son has a normal life.
    As for the bank, one should see also the interior - it's a real architectural gem.


    Your comment gave me chills. Your words indicate that you're a brave woman yourself. I wish you that you never be in such a situation and never having to take such decisions!

  31. I understand her decision. My grandmother had pancreatic cancer and chose not to do chemo either. She was only really sickly the last week of her life. Actually, until her cancer diagnosis she had only been to a doctor twice in her life. (And it wasn't to deliver her baby either.)

  32. This story of a mother's sacrifice is close to my heart, Duta. My mother was diagnosed with cancer many years ago and refused the chemotherapy. Her one wish was to live long enough to see one of her sons graduate from college. She got to, although she was quite ill by then. I'll never forget her persistence about getting on that plane and making that journey. About a week later she passed away. But she lived about year longer than they thoughts she would through sheer determination.

    When I think of her and the specialness she left behind, it makes me happy. Thanks for reminding me.

    Oh, I have something to make you smile over at my blog today. Happy days to you!

  33. Tracie,

    Your grandmother was quite a lady, judging by your words. I hope she has at least reached a plausible age before she died. (Aliza was only 45 years old).


    I'm glad my post reminds you of your mother's persistence, determination and specialnes.
    Unfortunately, almost everyone can relate to this story through what happened to some friend or family member.

  34. A true testimony to a Mother's Love. I also had a dear friend who had cancer and refuse treatments. Whenever, I go to art class, she was always the first one I saw and greeted me. Peace

  35. Death is the end of every life. How good to meet it well, as Aliza did.
    Thanks for your comment, I always feel I am imposing when I ask to photograph someone, and like I am trespassing if I don't ask, so I generally don't take pictures of people outside of family and close friends at all.

  36. All I can think of after reading this post is "a mother's love". And what a wonderful mother Aliza must have been. Certainly is a tragic story but brings such tenderness and love with it.

  37. Lady Di Tn,

    I like your definition: "A true testimony to a mother's love." Sorry about your friend from the art class.


    Yes, Death is so absolute, so final.
    As for photographing strange people, I also find it difficult.


    I agree with you; it's a tragic story but it brings out the love and tenderness of a wonderful mother for her son.

  38. Hey Duta,

    I can fully understand her decision but it takes somebody very brave and very special to make this.

    Thank you popping by my blog recently. I really enjoyed my trip to Austin and like you said, it would be perfect if I take my children next time :)


  39. such an amazing story - thank you & best wishes

  40. pennycones,

    Indeed so, only a brave and very special woman.

    As regards my comment on your trip to Austin, you're more than welcome! Next time, with the children - it would indeed be perfect.

    Ballet News,

    Thanks and Best Wishes to you too!

  41. This is such a wonderful and sad story, yet inspiring. What a woman! Thank you for telling it.

  42. Marinela Reka,

    Welcome! Im glad you liked my story. Thank you for your comment.

    A human kind of human,

    What a woman, indeed! You're right - her story is sad and yet inspiring. Thanks for stopping by.

  43. Beautiful, touching story. I'm sorry, too, that you still feel such sadness. Know that today, she is indeed living the meaning of her name in Heaven.

    I'm fascinated by your gift with language. Amazing! Thank you for using your gift in such a generous way for all of us.

  44. What an amazing and heartwarming story of a mothers love. Thank you for sharing it!

    I'm now a follower...I love your Blog.

  45. Susannah,

    Thank you for your warm words. Aliza (which is the hebrew word for cheerful) is probably as you pointed out "living the meaning of her name in Heaven".

    Lisa Petrarca,

    Welcome! Thanks for the 'follower' AND FOR YOUR KIND COMMENT.